Allyson Felix
Getty Images

Allyson Felix and Beyoncé

Leave a comment

It’s the 2005 ESPYs. Actor Matthew Perry is hosting, one year after the end of “Friends.” The Best Male and Female Athlete awards go to Lance Armstrong and Annika Sörenstam.

And the show ends with a performance by Destiny’s Child.

The trio wearing all black and pointed toe pumps are three minutes into “Lose My Breath” when sparks fly from the backdrop. It’s the cue for two athletes in black dresses and matching heels to join them center stage.

Then-six-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams is on the far right, next to Michelle Williams.

And on the left, bordering Kelly Rowland, is Allyson Felix.

At the time, Felix was 19 years old and the owner of one Olympic medal, silver in the 200m from the Athens 2004 Games.

“[Serena and I] were asked to do this little walk-out thing with Destiny’s Child,” Felix said recently. “We were both totally out of our element, like what are we supposed to do exactly? … It’s like, what am I doing up here?”

They spent about 30 seconds strutting and posing as the performance came to a close and Perry re-emerged to dismiss the crowd from Los Angeles’ Kodak Theatre.

It marked one of Felix’s first interactions with Serena Williams. They are now so close that Felix and brother Wes sat in Serena’s Wimbledon box at last year’s final at the All England Club.

One member of Destiny’s Child has a different kind of impact on Felix’s career. That’s Beyoncé.

For a 2013 ESPN the Magazine shoot, Felix posed as Beyoncé from the singer’s 2003 debut album, “Dangerously in Love.”

Those memories were conjured when Felix was asked at a U.S. Olympic Committee media summit last week what artist she listens to while warming up for competition.

“For me, it’s very specific,” Felix said among a panel of U.S. Olympic track and field athletes. “I have to listen to Beyoncé, ‘I’m a Diva.’ I have to get that alter ego on. I have to go to that different place. I’m a really laid-back person, but when it comes to the track, gotta switch it on.”

“I don’t consider myself a diva at all, but the song has a bit of an attitude and I inherit that when I step on the track,” Felix said, according to ESPN the Magazine in 2013. “I think about winning and not really caring about anyone else’s feelings and just caring about myself in that moment.”

The 2009 song has been on Felix’s playlist since before she won her first individual Olympic gold medal at London 2012.

“As soon as I heard it, I was like, man, I identify with this,” Felix said. “This is really cool. This one just hit me.”

MORE: Allyson Felix adapts to Michael Johnson-like Olympic double

Bobby Joe Morrow, triple Olympic sprint champion, dies at 84

Bobby Joe Morrow
AP
Leave a comment

Bobby Joe Morrow, one of four men to win the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at one Olympics, died at age 84 on Saturday.

Morrow’s family said he died of natural causes.

Morrow swept the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, joining Jesse Owens as the only men to accomplish the feat. Later, Carl Lewis and Usain Bolt did the same.

Morrow, raised on a farm in San Benito, Texas, set 11 world records in a short career, according to World Athletics.

He competed in one Olympics, and that year was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year while a student at Abilene Christian. He beat out Mickey Mantle and Floyd Patterson.

“Bobby had a fluidity of motion like nothing I’d ever seen,” Oliver Jackson, the Abilene Christian coach, said, according to Sports Illustrated in 2000. “He could run a 220 with a root beer float on his head and never spill a drop. I made an adjustment to his start when Bobby was a freshman. After that, my only advice to him was to change his major from sciences to speech, because he’d be destined to make a bunch of them.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Johnny Gregorek runs fastest blue jeans mile in history

Johnny Gregorek
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Johnny Gregorek, a U.S. Olympic hopeful runner, clocked what is believed to be the fastest mile in history for somebody wearing jeans.

Gregorek recorded a reported 4 minutes, 6.25 seconds, on Saturday to break the record by more than five seconds (with a pacer for the first two-plus laps). Gregorek, after the record run streamed live on his Instagram, said he wore a pair of 100 percent cotton Levi’s.

Gregorek, the 28-year-old son of a 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic steeplechaser, finished 10th in the 2017 World Championships 1500m. He was sixth at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.

He ranked No. 1 in the country for the indoor mile in 2019, clocking 3:49.98. His outdoor mile personal best is 3:52.94, ranking him 30th in American history.

Before the attempt, a fundraiser was started for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, garnering more than $29,000. Gregorek ran in memory of younger brother Patrick, who died suddenly in March 2019.

“Paddy was a fan of anything silly,” Gregorek posted. “I think an all out mile in jeans would tickle him sufficiently!”

MORE: Seb Coe: Track and field needs more U.S. meets

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!